After being kicked from the platform for several weeks, the cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash has been reinstated on GitHub.
On Thursday, Ethereum programmer Preston Van Loon tweeted that GitHub had partially relaxed its restriction on the Tornado Cash organization and its contributors. According to the developer, all of Tornado Cash’s source repositories are currently read-only, indicating that GitHub still has some work to perform before it can be used again.
Van Loon thinks that this idea is better than an outright ban. His request to GitHub is to undo all changes and put the repositories back to how they were before.
Data obtained from Github shows that on August 22, shortly after Tornado Cash co-founder Roman Semenov claimed to have an account there, some of the most recent changes were made to the project’s repositories. U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) banned Tornado Cash on August 8 and blacklisted 44 addresses for USD Coin and Ether connected to the mixer.
Updated Guidelines Regarding Tornado Cash
The OFAC issued new guidance about Tornado Cash on September 13, stating that U.S. residents would not violate sanctions by copying the mixer’s code or making it available online, prompting the project’s return to GitHub. The OFAC further clarified that U.S. citizens would not be barred from accessing it if the Tornado Cash website reappeared online.
OFAC has stated: "U.S. persons would not be prohibited by U.S. sanctions regulations from copying the open-source code and making it available online for others to view"
— prestonvanloon.eth (@preston_vanloon) September 13, 2022
Tornado Cash is an Ethereum-based privacy-centric tool that allows users to conceal their crypto transactions and maintain their anonymity by hiding the blockchain’s audit traces. After the OFAC ban, authorities worldwide began investigating the Ethereum mixer, and the creators of Tornado Cash were arrested on suspicion of money laundering related to the service.
As the debate around Tornado Cash continues, many in the cryptocurrency and developer communities are beginning to wonder if they are breaking the law by releasing their source code to the public. Not only have key cryptocurrency businesses spoken out against the Treasury Department’s measures, but the Coinbase exchange has opted to back a lawsuit made by Tornado Cash users against the OFAC.
Vitalik Buterin, who helped start Ethereum, has gone on record as saying that he donated to Ukraine using Tornado Cash to guarantee the anonymity of the donors’ finances.